Duties & Responsibilities

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What Does it Mean to be a Fiduciary?

In simplest terms, to be a fiduciary to another person or party is to be in a position of trust. For example, a patient trusts her doctor to make the correct diagnosis. A parishioner trusts his priest to keep his

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Fiduciary Duty and Community Association Board Members

We frequently talk about the fact that homeowner association board members have a “fiduciary duty” to the members. What exactly is it? Is it spelled out in the law? What sort of actions would violate that duty?  A fiduciary duty

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How Should Boards Handle the Reporting of a Crime?

A burglar slipped into a Hudson Heights co-op as a shareholder was leaving the building, then proceeded to steal a laundry cart and some packages. The theft was reported to police, but it took the co-op board almost two weeks

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Why Every Condominium and Homeowners Association Should Trademark its Name and Logo

Over the past decade, the popularity of living in a common interest community, particularly condominium and homeowners associations, has risen significantly. According to recent statistics provided by Community Associations Institute, there are over 340,000 community associations, over 26 million housing

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Duties of Homeowner Association Board of Directors (MN)

Ok, you have volunteered to serve on the board of your non-profit association. You attend your first board meeting. You start to vote on various issues. What guides you in making your decisions? Under the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act

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What’s Covered by Your HOA and What Isn’t

Many homeowners who live in HOA’s come to us seeking clarity about who is responsible for what in terms of their homes, yards, and amenities. We hear all sorts of questions, including things like: Am I responsible for trimming the

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What is Condo Association Fiduciary Duty?

The term “fiduciary duty” comes up often when talking about Condo and HOA Boards. According to US Legal.com the official definition of fiduciary duty is:  “A fiduciary duty is an obligation to act in the best interest of another party…A

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Homeowner Rights & Responsibilities

As a homeowner in your Association, you have certain rights—and responsibilities.

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From a misplaced mat to a $170k lawsuit – the danger of breaching duties of care (Australia)

Damages of $171,500 plus costs have been awarded against a Mosman owners corporation for a breach of its duty of care to a resident who tripped on a frayed floor mat

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The Business Judgment Rule

The standard of conduct in Oregon and Washington is colloquially known as the “Business Judgment Rule.”

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The Truth about HOAs: Low Assessments Can Come at a High Price

As yourcommunity ages you need to set realistic repairs and maintenance budgets to take care of the little things as they break down

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Zika Virus and Your Community Association

With the growing threat of Zika virus in the U.S. and particularly in South Florida what, if anything, should your community be doing to lessen this threat to your residents?

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Does The Business Judgment Rule Protect Directors Who Violate Governing Documents?

CA Court of Appeal considered whether the business judgment rule is available to a director who violates the corporation’s governing documents

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Voluntary HOAs and Their Powers

The best way for a voluntary HOA to work is if everyone communicates on what type of neighborhood they want

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Ruling Reminds Associations of Significant Consequences Resulting from Failure to Maintain Common Elements

Maintaining the common elements and areas is one of the primary functions and responsibilities of community associations.

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The Business Judgment Rule

According to this rule of law, actions taken by directors of a nonprofit corporation in good faith, that are within the powers of the corporation, and that reflect a reasonable and honest exercise of judgment, are valid actions in accordance with the Business Judgment Rule.

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Defalcation and the Hazards of Board Membership – Lessons from the Fifth Circuit (TX)

Defalcation is a broad term meaning the breach of a fiduciary duty. Courts of appeals have disagreed about the requisite mental state for defalcation.

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Fiduciary Duty and What it Means for Your HOA Board

As board members, your community has entrusted you with the “power” to make decisions on their behalf and in the best interest of the community.

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An HOA Board’s Fiduciary Duty: The Key to Avoid Conflicts of Interest

In homeowner’s associations, you and every board member are considered a fiduciary and are duty bound to act in the best interests of all residents, not your own best interests.

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Is Your Community Association Board Making Sound Decision on Your Behalf?

The elected and appointed directors of the association have a fiduciary relationship to the unit owners over which they serve.

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Duties of the Managing Agents and Liability for Failure to Carry Out Those Duties

the managing agent, as the agent, has a fiduciary duty to the association as the principal in all matters connected with the agency relationship

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Legal Obligations for HOA Board Members

Many HOA Board members don’t fully understand the legal obligations that come with serving their community.

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Do The Right Thing How To Avoid Personal Liability As A Condo Association Director

officers and directors of the association have a fiduciary relationship to the unit owners

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What is your Association’s Purpose?

Despite often receiving negative media attention, associations serve many positive purposes

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Conflicts of Interest Within Your HOA

the people with the power (particularly the board members) can develop conflicts of interest

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Housing Counsel: The Business Judgement Rule

The courts have consistently held that volunteer board members are not perfect, and will make decisions that are not always correct

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6 Resolutions Your HOA Board Should Make for a Successful Year

The New Year is here. As an HOA Board, this may be a good time to consider making resolutions that will help to make it a great year for your homeowners association. These commitments don’t have to be profound and

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A Concrete Decision: ‘Qian’ and the Evolution of Sidewalk Liability (NJ)

In the past 20 years, the number of common-interest communities in New Jersey has grown exponentially. Today, we all seem to know someone living in such a community, whether it be an active adult senior community, a condominium building or

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Slip and Fall on the Condominium Premises (MI): Does the Condominium Owe a Statutory Duty to its Co-owners?

What happens if a Co-owner slips and falls on the condominium premises? Does the Co-owner have a right to sue the Association or its property manager for failing to maintain the common areas in reasonable repair? Can the Co-owner recover

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Homeowners Association Boards– Things You Should Know About Fiduciary Responsibility

In the United States, HOAs are plentiful and some communities even have more than one. Some have great difficulty in finding volunteers and homeowners are often put into a position of saying yes just to fill a vacancy for a

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Upholding Your Fiduciary Duty: Transparency is the Best Path for Boards

Being on the board of a co-op or condo is a big responsibility— one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. While some people may run for a board seat just to have the title, they need to be prepared to govern

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Who’s Responsible for Bed Bugs in a Condo in NY, or a Sprinkler Head Flood in a Condo in CA?

What’s worse for an owner in a condominium? The spread of bed bugs? Or flood from a broken sprinkler head?  The spread of bed bugs or termites from one unit to others that can be traced is probably worse. Accidentally

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Board Member Fiduciary Duties

When owners are elected or appointed to the board of directors, it’s critical to understand the importance of fiduciary duties. A fiduciary is a person “to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another.” In homeowner and

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Although Individual Board Members Owed a Fiduciary Duty to Individual Condo Owners, the Corporation Did Not (NY)

Condominiums—Homeowners Associations—Business Judgment Rule—Plaintiff May Assert Claim for Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Punitive Damages Against Individual Members of a Board of Directors, But Not Against the Corporation Itself—Although Individual Board Members Owed a Fiduciary Duty to Individual Condominium Owners,

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Sarasota Judge rules Colony Association must repair units

Sarasota Judge Rochelle Curley agreed with Sheldon and Carol Rabin and entered a final judgment on May 13 ruling that The Colony Association had failed in its fundamental duty to maintain the 237 units at the long-closed resort and that

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Insurance Complexities Create Challenges and Liability Risks for Condo Boards and Managers

“My condo community is insured for full replacement value,” the board’s president announced confidently. “Our manager assures us,” he added, “that we have all coverage we need.” I hear these confident assertions often, and they make me shudder. Many condo

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Do board members owe a duty of care and loyalty to their association?

A community association is a corporation, in many ways similar to any other corporation, be it a for-profit or not-for-profit company. In exercising decisions, for the most part, the community association’s board members must adhere to the “business judgment rule.”

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Case Tests Homeowners’ Associations’ Icy Sidewalk Liability (NJ)

The New Jersey Supreme Court is considering whether homeowners’ associations and their maintenance contractors can be held liable for injuries caused when they fail to clear snow and ice from sidewalks that they own and have pledged to maintain.  

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Colony suit demands repairs (FL)

Another court decision in the Colony saga is pending as the Rabins, who own two beachfront units at the now-closed resort, hope Judge Rochelle Curley agree with their argument that the Association was negligent and must repair their buildings in

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In a Heartbeat – Is an HOA liable if it provides an AED?

It happens in a heartbeat – literally. Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40 in the United States and other countries. Studies have shown, however, that when bystanders intervene and start

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Limit Liability of a Slip and Fall

Winter is a great season for many reasons. The beautiful snow makes a breathtaking landscape and means it’s time to go skiing. However, winter also brings ice, which increases the chance of someone slipping and falling. If someone slips on

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Water Damage Issues Create Liability for Boards Under Breach of Fiduciary Duty Theory

In Schuh v. Plaza Des Plaines Condominium Association, No. 1-13-1999 (Ill.App.Ct. July 24, 2014), an Illinois appeals court affirmed a ruling that a condominium association breached its fiduciary duty to a unit owner by failing to promptly address a water

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Duty of care owed to trespassers on community property

The decision reached in a recent appellate court opinion out of Palm Beach County is instructive in determining the duty owed by property owner to an undiscovered trespasser, a discovered trespasser and an invitee.  Read more………

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Who Is Responsible for Repairing the Condo Balcony Deck?

Fred owns a condominium that has a balcony. The deck of the balcony is a bit old and worn. It has developed cracks such that, if there is rain, the water leaks through. The deck needs to be repaired or,

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Fiduciary Duty: Doing What’s Right for the Community

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you: It’s the golden rule taught to children, but it bears repeating for adults considering board positions with condominium associations.  Anyone in a board position is bound by fiduciary duty,

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The Call of Duty: The Importance of Fiduciary Responsibility

When electing board members to serve on behalf of your community, you expect them to be on their best behavior and to think of the needs of the building and the people who live there when making their decisions. Regardless

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What Does this Thing Called Fiduciary Duty Mean for HOA Board Members?

As a new or current HOA board member you may often hear terms that you’re unfamiliar with. It’s important to ask questions and stay educated when something is unclear, and nothing can be more convoluted than financial jargon.  From time

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Does your condominium, cooperative or HOA board know if and when it is appropriate to grant a hardship exemption?

I am often asked by boards for whom I am rewriting or amending governing documents to include the right to grant hardship exemptions for a variety of use restrictions. Typically, boards want the leeway to grant exceptions when it comes

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Va. Beach jury finds condo association board members guilty of negligence

A Virginia Beach jury has found board members of a local condominium community guilty of neglecting their responsibilities to condo owners.  The two-day trial brought by Sawgrass condo owners against the Sawgrass Association ended Tuesday night. The board members were

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Does your board undertake “Due Diligence”?

Directors are often told they should “do their due diligence” before making certain decisions on behalf of their associations. How many people actually understand what steps are needed to fulfill that directive?   “Due diligence” is defined as an investigation of

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